Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Stress of Being a Houseguest

There’s nothing like staying over at someone else’s house to bring out feelings of inadequacy in your parenting abilities.

The odd and bad behaviors that we see from our son every day at home somehow seem worse when staying as a guest in someone else’s house. The imagined spotlight brings out the guilt feelings much more than when you are by yourselves at home.

We had a great time when we visited Kai’s grandmother this weekend. And she was very understanding and supportive of our situation. But when Kai behaved poorly, we still felt awful.

We saw a lot of the little things we see everyday. Things like not staying in his chair at dinner. Or, using his hands to pick up his food instead of using a fork or spoon. Or, wanting a different utensil for each different food.

At home, we work on these things. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we still have not been successful in changing his behavior. Sometimes we decide that we have to choose our battles and decide that some of these are not worth the effort at the time. But when I see him doing those things at grandma’s house, I wish that I had been more firm with him.

There were bigger things, too. Things like not listening and obeying our requests.

“Don’t throw the rocks into the water.” But he did.

“Put the golf balls away.” He didn’t.

“Don’t go on the couch in your wet swimsuit.” He did.

He got timeouts. But he didn’t seem to care.

You almost want to stop and explain that you really aren’t as incompetent at parenting as your child’s behavior might indicate. You are tempted to go into details of all the things we have been doing to work on these behaviors.

We are fortunate that the relatives we visit are understanding, though I don’t think anyone fully understands the difficulties of being a parent of a child with autism until you go through it yourself for awhile.

As we were leaving, Kai told us that he got a 30% score for his stay there. He had graded himself using the point system that his school uses. 30% is a bad score so he knew that he did not behave well.

I told him that next time he can get a better score. In the meantime, we will continue to work on the things we need to work on.

And I will try to work on not feeling so inadequate.

This post made possible by the free wifi provided by our local public library. We lost power in the fierce storm last night and it doesn’t look like we’ll have it restored anytime soon.


  1. It is good that he realizes where he went wrong. It means that it is a problem of impulsiveness and not one of attitude. That is a far easier thing to correct.

    Just curious...what kind of storms do you have in summer there? A thunder storm? Maybe high winds causing the power lines to swing too much and causing an arc? We don't have summer storms here...not much of any storms at any time of the year.

  2. We have thunderstorms in June, but usually not in July or August. The one we just had was accompanied by very high winds. Many tall trees in our area were down. We got power back after 32 hours, but the folks across the street are still out.


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